Protecting human rights in childbirth

Legal cases

Where necessary, Birthrights will use our legal expertise to bring challenges to systems that infringe women’s basic rights.

We made a joint intervention in the case of R (A and B) v Secretary of State for Health in the Supreme Court (2017). This led to a national policy change, ensuring women from Northern Ireland can now obtain abortion care without charge in England.

We were joint first interveners with Bpas in the case of CP v The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority in the Court of Appeal (2014). This contributed to ensuring women’s behaviour in pregnancy could not be criminalised.

We were joint interveners in Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission Supreme Court Appeal Hearing (2017) supporting the NIHRC argument that the current NI abortion law (with regards to cases of rape, incest, or serious foetal anomaly) is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and amounts to inhumane and degrading treatment of women in need of abortion care. The judgment called for urgent “radical reconsideration” of the current framework and warned that if a victim of the existing law brought proceedings they would likely succeed.

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